This factsheet contains an overview of labour trafficking and forced labour in Australia.
WHAT IS LABOUR TRAFFICKING?
Labour Trafficking is when people are trafficked for the purpose of labour exploitation. Forced labour is illegal in Australia, and can occur in many industries, including construction, agriculture, and hospitality.
The 2011 International Labour Organisation’s Global Estimate of Forced Labour reported that there are an estimated 20.9 million victims of forced labour around the world, with 9.1 million of that number trafficked for forced labour
What is forced labour?
Forced labour is defined in section 73.2(3) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) as:
“the condition of a person who provides labour or services (other than sexual services) and who, because of the use of force or threats:
- is not free to cease providing labour or services; or
- is not free to leave the place or area where the person provides labour or services.”
Forced labour occurs on a spectrum of exploitation. At one end of this spectrum are extreme forms of exploitation that breach fundamental human rights such as slavery and forced labour. At the other end is freely chosen employment. The challenge for legislators and judges is to draw the line between substandard working conditions and extreme forms of exploitation such as forced labour and slavery.